Dear Kid in My Shopping Cart

We've all been there — in the store aisles, with an unhappy, unwieldy, uncooperative child in the shopping cart. It's such a common occurrence, we wrote a whole story with advice on how to better the mommy-and-me shopping experience. MomSpeaker Lindsey Schuster wrote the following letter to the small people affecting her consumer outings.

Dear Kids in My Shopping Cart,

You know how much I love running errands with you. The grocery store, the mall, the post office and especially the dry cleaners (when I get to unbuckle you, carry you across the parking lot, pay, then carry you and a huge heap of clothing back across the parking lot, try to find my keys with my one free finger, inevitably drop the clothes on the ground so I can hoist you back into your seat and rebuckle you). It’s just a solidly fun 3-minute time span in my life.

Yeah, so this summer, since it’s just you and me and not-a-whole-lotta-camp, there's lots of errand-running together (insert dreamy smile). So I thought I’d write a list of reminders for you so that we can make the best of this special bonding time in our lives.

Here goes:

When we enter the supermarket, definitely start freaking out at me that I got the wrong type of cart. I always like making a grand entrance and this is a great way for potential mom friends to spot us. The louder and shriek-ier, the better.

After 30 seconds be sure to decide that you don’t want to sit in the front seat anymore – riding on the back of the cart gives you easier access to all the produce. Be sure to touch it all with your sweet, grubby little fingers. A double bonus would be to make sure that the young professionals (who don’t have kids yet) see you doing this; they love it. They are the people with spikes on the bottom of their shoes (they’re these things called heels), and they’ll be carrying designer handbags and will probably have things like Mahi Mahi and kale in their cart.

When you get tired of walking and/or playing “trashman” by hanging off the side of the cart, hop on back in, but this time, try the back! That ground beef is dying to be stepped on. Ten-second rule, right? Make sure you get the chips, too. I mean, who doesn’t love spending $4.99 on crumbs?

Tantrums in the snack aisle are a must. I really need to brush up on my negotiating skills, and debating whether or not Sponge Bob Chemicalfilledfruitexplosiongummies are a healthy snack or not, is the perfect opportunity for me to do this. God forbid my brain turn to mush just because I’m a mom. Mom brain is not a real thing. At least not with you guys to keep me in check!

Lying down in the aisle kicking and screaming in a fit of rage? Puh-lease. At least one. This little gem of a trick need not be forgotten.

Grocery shopping is some serious hard work. Trust me, I get it. If you suddenly realize that you are “STARVING,” no big deal. We can just open the bag of popcorn that you just tossed into the cart and have ourselves a little shopping-cart picnic. Crumbs? I’m all over it. There is a reason my handbag is so heavy: Mary-freakin’-Poppins over here with this bad boy charged and ready to go.

When you decide that you want a turn pushing the cart, please, pretty please, run the cart into the back of my heels as many times as you see fit. It hurts so much it almost tickles. And at this point in our little supermarket excursion, I could use a good laugh.

And kicking me while I’m down is a must. You should totally ask me to carry you whilst pushing the cart with a busted ankle. I mean, I know the yoga pants I am wearing can be deceiving, but confession: I didn’t actually make it to the gym today. This is just the workout my body needs. Weight training, resistance training and cardio all wrapped up into one. BOOM.

And that reminds me, when our cart is maxed out and I’ve just placed the frozen goods (read: ice cream) on top, this is the perfect time to tell me that you have to poop. I love feverishly weaving in and out of carts and people and trying to make it to the shady warehouse-like portion of the store to find the bathroom. It turns this whole humdrum supermarket experience into and adventure. And I’m a mom, as you know, so I love a good challenge.

Oh, and when we are checking out, feel free to press all the buttons on the credit card kiosk so the transaction gets canceled and the people in line behind us have to wait even longer. They won’t mind, in fact, if I was a betting woman I would put money on the fact that these people are ones who are going to remind me: “Slow down. Enjoy it. It all goes so fast.” So Take. Your. Good. Old. Time. Because this. THIS . . . is just too much fun.

Sweet babies of mine. These are just suggestions. Be creative. Use your imaginations. Make no supermarket experience like the one before. Make me work for that peaceful 10-minute drive home when you are all strapped in your seats with no where to go. Make me work for it.

Love you little beasts,


Lindsey Schuster is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Raised with four sisters, her blog Sisters to Sons chronicles the new path she has carved: raising three sons. 

Categories: MomSpeak